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Auvergne scene, watercolour


Claire Palfreyman Studio delivers simply beautiful, low maintenance gardens that welcome you home and give you the space to relax and enjoy nature up close.

Based in the Auvergne region of France, I love creating a wide range of gardens, from intimate town courtyards to larger modern country properties whether in France, the UK, Europe or beyond. 


I design with nature in mind, creating beautiful, sustainable, biodiverse gardens that sit comfortably in their surroundings. By observing naturally occurring plant communities, I am inspired to design gardens that will grow without much interference, watered mainly by the rain, so giving each garden that illusive sense of place.


Where possible I like to plant 'dry' gardens, that is without any irrigation system, as planting small, with the right plant in the right place and good soil preparation, the plants will be healthier.


Where appropriate I seek to reuse and repurpose materials from the existing site to avoid waste, additional costs and excessive environmental impact.

Inspiration comes to me from many sources, from being outside observing plants and insects in the wild, to design, art and architecture. Influences from the gardening world include Beth Chatto, Dan Pearson, Gilles Clément and his idea of the 'jardin en mouvement' and the inspirational plantsman and author Olivier Filippi - his book 'Alternatives au gazon' is invaluable.


I grew up in the remote Scottish borders, my days spent wandering outdoors in all weathers. I developed a deep connection to the natural world and an understanding that nature doesn't stay still, the landscape and the plants change with each year that passes, renewed and replenished. 

Study and work took me to Edinburgh, Paris then London, where I lived for 30 years working as a journalist, an award-winning ceramicist and art teacher. I have been lucky enough  to have been gardening in London and France for over 15 years.  A move to France full time persuaded me to pursue her love of plants and study for a diploma with the Oxford College of Garden Design.


My journey as an artist and sculptor seeps into my work. I combine my creativity and artistic understanding of texture, line and space with the rigour, skills of local craftsmen and professional landscape construction teams to create gardens that bring you and nature closer. 

Claire Palfreyman at Olivier Filippi's Garden in Sète
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